Blog Entry

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:18 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The numbers at the Coaching Changes One-Stop Shop don't lie about the speed (or lack thereof) of the Penn State coaching search; 24 of this year's 25 coaching vacancies have been filled, and despite the Nittany Lions accepting the resignation of Joe Paterno with multiple games still remaining in the 2011 season, PSU is the only FBS program still without a permanent head coach.

Perhaps responding to that factoid (and the wave of hirings in the past 48 hours at places like Hawaii, Houston, Akron, and Pitt), Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner issued a statement Thursdayaddressing the progress of the search. Unfortunately for Nittany Lions fans, the statement won't do much to calm fears the new coach won't be in place anytime soon:
"As we head into the holidays, I wanted to share an update on the search for the next head football coach at Penn State. We are continuing to talk with individuals that we're interested in and work through the interview process. As I'm sure all can appreciate, this is a very important hire for Penn State and, as a result, the search committee is taking a very deliberate and measured approach to the process in order to identify the coach that best fits the requirements of the position.

"We look forward to introducing our new football coach at the appropriate time. In the interim, I'd like to wish everyone happy holidays as well as remind all Penn Staters to support our team and its 23 seniors as they compete against the 12-1 Houston Cougars in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on January 2nd." 
"Working through the interview process" while "taking a very deliberate and measured approach" to hiring the next Nittany Lion head coach "at the appropriate time" certainly doesn't sound like the words of an administrator who feels confident he's going to have his new coach signed in the next few days. 

Perhaps even more worrying for Penn State supporters is that even the rumor mill has slowed to a crawl where the Nittany Lions are concerned. After the flurry of initial (and apparently wayward) reports connecting Dan Mullen to Happy Valley, few serious names have emerged or been discussed as anything other than longshots. Patriot-News beat writer David Jones wrote earlier this week that in the course of covering the search, he's "learning more about guys who I believe won't be in the mix in the end than those who will be." With latest candidate du jour Bo Pelini denying any connection with the PSU job, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements may be the de facto front-runner.

Hiring Clements, of course, might mean waiting until after the Packers play the Super Bowl to fill the Lion head coaching office. Joyner is right that the school's decision can't be rushed, and if the right choice is Clements or any other coach who either isn't available or who they haven't found yet, then it'll be worth the wait. (And there's little doubt that Joyner has difficulties facing him that aren't facing your typical coaching search.) But with Signing Day starting to peek over the horizon and the search looking more and more desperate as well as "deliberate", that introductory press conference still can't come soon enough for the Lions.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:01 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Hiring a replacement for coach Joe will be difficult even without the scandal. This new coach would have a broken wagon with at least 3 wheels off the wagon.

He would have to restore the confidence of playing at PSU, bringing PSU back to the status before the scandal, making sure the players are shielded from the media that do not have the institution in their best interest, but simply getting a story.

He would have to have the ability to have the respect of the remaining players. Assemble a coaching staff and develop an offensive system that would work with the current players on hand as well as any potential recruits coming aboard.

Of course the big elephant in the room is he would be replacing and following coach Joe Pa a living legend.

The thing about hiring a coach to replace coach Joe Pa is that it might take 2-3 coaches to feel comfortable at the helm of the PSU Nitty Lions.


Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 4:13 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Penn State did not "accept Joe Paterno's resignation," the FIRED him after he submitted it.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:17 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Here is how this "measured approach" works at Penn State. The interview goes something like this: "Does the name Jerry Sandusky mean anything to you?" If the applicant acknowledges that he does know who old Jerr is, he is immediately asked to leave the county. If the applicant hesitates for a moment, then admits the affirmative, he is simply escorted off campus. For the half dozen people in the country who have no idea who the ex-defensive guru of the Nittany Lions was or is, their names are all put in a hat and the "lucky" one is chosen as the 1st head coach to be hired in Happy Valley in 77 years. The official announcement will follow the sight of smoke coming out of Joe Paterno's fireplace.

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:49 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

The Board of Trustees need to focus on repairing the reputation of the university globally. The process will take four to five years before the healing begins. It is impossible to heal the wound when you don't know the full extent of the injury. Therein lies the problem with the current coaching search. The university, let alone the football program has no idea how bad it is going to get. If you don't know how bad it is going to get, you can't always pick the right person to get you through the unknown. Football needs to take a back seat at PSU and the coaching appointment should be made with an emphasis towards academics. Save the games for later.

It would be a public relations nightmare to select a high profile coach or anyone with an association to PSU. I wish them well but they need to get their priorities straight and quit hiding the ball.

Football will come back in 5-8 years at PSU but it should never have the control that Mr. Paterno had over his Chancellor and Board of Trustees.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 3:52 am

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

A measured approach seems like a good idea. I read an article that the school administers think they need to show people they are an academic institution. If people think it is all about football, they might stop sending their kids there. They really do need to get people's trust back.

Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 6:22 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Clements would be an excellent choice for Penn State.  He would almost certainly improve the QB play at PSU.  He was QB coach for Brett Favre for a few years and mentored Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:54 pm

Penn St. taking "measured approach" to search

Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements .
Is that the same Tom Clements that led Notre Dame to the 1973 National Championship win over Alabama?

How the mighty have fallen. Penn State would be a prime location with coaches falling over themselves to take that job if not for the scandal. Paterno staying a decade too long and falling victim to a scandal because of his turning a blind eye has truly cost the football program quality.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or